Whether you were leave or remain, we can all agree that we are in one of the most dramatic and unstable periods that the UK has faced in modern times. The post-referendum fallout has ranged from the predictable (plummeting pound, a gloating Farage and a farewell to Cameron), to the bizarre (Backstabbing Gove, regretful leave voters, Brexit camp already renegading on their promises) to the heart-breaking (broken governments and the exposure of latent racism and xenophobia). These recent events, as well as the general uncertainty borne from this, have led to higher levels of anxiety and stress amongst Britons. The Guardian has already reported an increase in mental health referrals and therapists’ citing higher anxiety and despair amongst their patients¹.
A pertinent factor affecting wellbeing is financial health, with many facing higher job instability as the impact of Brexit on our economy begins to unfold. Barclays found that pre-Brexit, 46% of employees worry about their finances² and we are sure to see this proportion increase in the coming months. A mini financial crisis was indeed predicted and we have already seen the pound devalue and our credit rating reduced to an AA-. However the real effects on the economy are still in the making and this uncertainty is difficult for employees to deal with, impacting wellbeing significantly.
Companies should be aware of the impact on their employees’ financial health and have a responsibility to support and navigate us through this period of uncertainty.
1. Regular and honest Communication
Ensure employees are well informed on how Brexit could affect the company as a whole, as well as potentially their job. A government study found open communication as a vital component of management that can significantly improve employees’ health and wellbeing.³. It is important to ensure regular updates are provided in order to manage employees’ concerns and expectations.
2. Encourage support networks
Create informal platforms to encourage employees to support one another. This is a difficult time for everyone and can feel rather isolating. By helping to create strong networks, employees will be better able to share information and provide emotional support to one another.
Furthermore consider providing accessible information on where to seek financial help and other materials to ensure employees are well informed.
3. Offer wellbeing services
Brexit has the potential to affect employees in a number of different ways. It is important to be sensitive to this and ensure your companies’ wellbeing services are communicated and accessible.
Written by Katie Zimmerman
Katie works for EY and has continually taken an active interest in Organisational psychology and Wellbeing. Katie uses her own experiences and understanding of the workplace to blog for Yoke Consultancy.